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ECEN 485

Introduction to Digital Communication Theory

ECEn 485: Introduction to Digital Communication Theory

Welcome to the Digital Communications class home page! In this class we will learn about digital communication theory with an emphasis on wireless communications. We will use MATLAB, SIMULINK, and the COMMUNICATIONS TOOLBOX and BLOCKSET to design and test digital modems and communication systems. Class design exercises will help you learn the fundamentals of digital communications and the ability to apply theory to design.

Communications is an exciting field with advancements, services, and revenues growing faster than ever before. We live in a new age of communication where most people carry cellular phones and PDA's with wireless connectivity. The future promises even more advances in communications technology. You can be part of it.


Meeting Times for Winter Semester 2013

Lectures9:00-9:50 PM MWF (406 CB)
Laboratory4:00-6:00 PM M (413 CB)


NameMichael Rice
emailmdr "at"
office443 Clyde Building
consultations8:00 - 8:50 MWF


NameContactOffice Hours
Brett Steenblikbbliksteen8 "at" 10:00 - 11:00 AM TTh
Darren Kartchnerdarrenkartchner "at" -- (lab only)
Grant Wagnergwagner04008 "at" -- (lab only)


  1. Rice, Digital Communications: A Discrete-Time Approach, Pearson Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2008. ISBN-10: 0130304972. ISBN-13: 978-0130304971.
  2. Errata (for the old version).


ECEn 370 (or equivalent), ECEn 380.

Course Competencies

  • An understanding of the relationship between the Fourier transform of a continuous-time signal and the DTFT of its samples.
  • Application of linear algebra in describing digital modulation using the constellation representation.
  • Application of probability and statistics to bit error rate analysis of digital communication systems.
  • Ability to apply matched filter techniques to detection.
  • Ability to simulate digital communication systems using Simulink and Matlab.
  • Ability to design the parameters a PLL loop filter to meet given performance specifications.

Class Schedule

A listing of the assigned reading for each period is listed in the class schedule. A link to the class schedule is also on the menu at the top of most of the class pages.


Homework will be assigned regularly and will be due in class at the beginning of class on the due date. Since I do not allow late homework to be turned in, there is no "late homework policy."

Some homework assignments will include problems with MATLAB programming to give you some hands-on application experience. MATLAB is available on all the CAEDM machines. For those of you unfamiliar with MATLAB (you either forget, or never learned it the first time in ECEn 380), on-line help is included for documentation on any built-in function. Just type "help function-name."

Laboratory Exercises

SIMULINK Exercises are designed to reinforce the theoretical concepts covered in the course by providing a hands-on experience at the block diagram level. The exercises are based on the MATLAB's SIMULINK block diagram simulator and use the SIGNAL PROCESSING BLOCK SET and the COMMUNICATIONS BLOCK SET. We will be using MATLAB and SIMULINK on the PCs in room 413 CB during the laboratory period. The SIMULINK exercises form the "laboratory" portion of the class. The laboratory is a "closed lab." We meet each Monday from 4:00 - 6:00 PM in room 413 CB. The TA and I will be there to assist you in completing the laboratory assignments.


There will be two mid-term exams this semester. The midterm exams will be administered in the testing center on the following dates:
  • Mid-term Exam 1: Monday, 25 Feb 2013 -- Thursday, 28 Feb 2013
  • Mid-term Exam 2: Tuesday, 9 Apr 2013 -- Friday, 12 April 2013
The mid-term exams comprise 20 multiple-choice. The final exam is comprehensive and comprises 30 multiple-choice questions. The final exam will also be administered in the testing center.


Midterm 120%
Midterm 225%
Final Exam30%

Honor Code

In keeping with the principles of the BYU Honor Code, students are expected to be honest in all of their academic work. Academic honesty means, most fundamentally, that any work you present as your own must in fact be your own work and not that of another. Violations of this principle may result in a failing grade in the course and additional disciplinary action by the university. Students are also expected to adhere to the Dress and Grooming Standards. Adherence demonstrates respect for yourself and others and ensures an effective learning and working environment. It is the university's expectation, and my own expectation in class, that each student will abide by all Honor Code standards. Please call the Honor Code Office at 422-2847 if you have questions about those standards.

Preventing Sexual Harassment

Sexual discrimination or harassment (including student-to-student harassment) is prohibited both by the law and by Brigham Young University policy. If you feel you are being subjected to sexual discrimination or harassment, please bring your concerns to the professor. Alternatively, you may lodge a complaint with the Equal Employment Office (D-240C ASB) or with the Honor Code Office (4440).

Students With Disabilities

If you have a disability that may affect your performance in this course, you should get in touch with the office of Services for Students with Disabilities (1520 WSC). This office can evaluate your disability and assist the professor in arranging for reasonable accommodations.
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